Does size matter?
How long is your manuscript?
How long should it be?
Is shorter better? Or is longer the way to go?
Here are the basic guidelines (the long and the short of it)*:
Then there are those publishers that don’t mention word counts as a hard and fast rule (Harper Impulse, Bookouture, Avon).
It’s a good idea to make sure that your book’s length matches the publisher’s or agent’s requirements before setting out querying. Or writing for that matter. No point writing a 150,000 word epic that no-one will publish.
I’ve just read through a series of pitches that were rejected because their word counts were either too short or too long. Don’t let that happen to you!
Different publishers have different rules about what length they publish. And some publish digitally up to a certain word count and only then publish in soft cover. I’ve mentioned a few romance publishers here but there are others. Do the research! Check, check and check again.
You don’t want to come short with your word count!
*This list is not exhaustive and all information is correct as at 19/02/2019
It’s meant to be.
It is written
Do you believe there is The One for you?
Love it or loathe it, The One is one of four key themes that drive all romance stories.
Whether we like it or not, romance is driven by the theory that there is that ONE SPECIAL PERSON who gets you. Who knows to bring you vegetarian burgers with extra sauce, or who cuddles up to watch Buffy with you (again). Someone who sees you for all the quirky goodness that you are, and still wants to park their slippers under your bed.
When we fall in love, we all like to think we’ve found our PARTNER FOR LIFE, our HAPPILY EVER AFTER (although sometimes it’s a HAPPY FOR NOW).
In a romance novel, we want our hero or heroine to find their ONE. The ONE who is obviously meant for them.
If you’ve written it right, there will come a point in your romance novel, where each will realise that the other is THE ONE. This is powerful stuff. It links to our primal urges to pair up and mate.
We have to believe that the couple we’re rooting for will make it because there is no-one else on this planet who will match up with them so perfectly. We have to believe they’ll make it - because if they can’t, then what hope is there for us?
THE ONE is one of four themes that every romance story should have, Want to know the others? Rock your Romance module: ALL ABOUT ROMANCE outlines the four themes of all successful romance novels.
Because it’s Valentine’s Day - the day of all things love and romance - I’m offering you this module at a 30% discount!
There’s a fine line between being a redeemable jerk and just being a jerk. But, how can you tell?
I’ve read a couple of MSs that crash and burn into the ‘complete dickhead’ category. Here’s some quick tips to keep in mind when writing about the Alphahole:
Want to know more about how to write great characters? Sign up for the HOW TO WRITE A ROMANCE online course.
Have you got to that stage where you’ve written your first novel over and over again?
Sometimes, too much information can lead to too may rewrites: does this character conflict work? Should I add in more dialogue? I’m not sure if there’s enough description here, etc etc etc. The result? A novel that’s not quite finished with over-written scenes that seem to drift further and further away from the original plot.
What can you do?
The first thing would be step away from the manuscript. Down tools. Stop. Just stop.
Get someone else - preferably someone who edits romance - to read it.
Your best option? The Developmental Edit.
The Developmental Edit will look at the following:
From there, you’ll get a detailed report as well as a marked-up manuscript that will clearly identify:
A Developmental Edit is probably the best that the aspiring romance writer can do because it will provide you with detailed feedback. No publishing house or agent will do that for you.
Happily Ever After offers developmental edits - you can contact me here.
And, as part of the How to Write a Romance premium option, we throw in a full appraisal of your manuscript (which includes suggestions on where to publish/submit as well as a developmental edit).
HEA ROMANCE WRITING
Everything you need to know to write your own happily ever after.